UNICEF calls for inclusion of children and young persons with disabilities
09 December 2020
- As the world commemorates the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, UNICEF has called for inclusive policies and an expansion of social safety nets to children and young persons with disabilities.
“This year’s commemoration comes at an extraordinary time; a time where COVID-19 has magnified inequalities and disrupted service for persons with disabilities,” said Munir Mammadzade, UNICEF Representative in Uzbekistan. “As we emerge out of this era, it is key to re-imagine approaches, policies, systems and services that will empower and not cut off children and young people with disabilities.”
Before the COVID 19 crisis, persons with disabilities were already facing significant inequalities in terms of poverty, education, health, work, and social participation. The COVID crisis has magnified those barriers and inequalities.
Emerging data shows that during COVID19, over 80 per cent of countries in Eastern Europe and Central Asia reported disruptions in access to disability-related health services, while a quarter of countries reported disruptions in social protection systems for persons with disabilities. Further, at least half of countries, governments failed to adopt measures aimed at facilitating learning for children with disabilities
In Uzbekistan, current data shows that nearly 1 in 2 children with disabilities does not access to the universal disability benefit, mainly because of the costly and cumbersome system.
Opportunities are also scarce. For instance, among young people with disabilities, those who are not in education, employment or training constitute 77%, rising to 91% for people with a severe disability. Further, children with disabilities, especially girls with disabilities are more prone to drop out of school and to be out of school.
Meanwhile more needs to be done on inclusion, as official statistical data in Uzbekistan, shows that children with disabilities are significantly overrepresented in residential care institutions for children. Measures need to be taken to ensure the inclusion and the right of children to live with their families.
“We welcome the recent adoption of the Law “On the rights of persons with disabilities” and amendments to the Law on Education, which widen access to quality inclusive education for all children, said Mr. Mammadzade. “We hope that Uzbekistan will do one more step to ensure the full realization of the rights of girls and boys, women and men with disabilities and ratify the Convention.”
UNICEF advocates for the protection and promotion of universal children’s and women’s rights and the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is a key tool to advance these.